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7 Traits That Mean You’re Ready to Be an Entrepreneur (Otherwise Don’t Quit Your Day Job)

There are certain traits that individuals must possess if they want to be successful entrepreneurs. If these ring true for you, then it may be time to get that startup launched. If not, then perhaps consider how you might be able to develop these traits first.

Image of an entrepreneur visualizing the traits for success

There’s an almost romantic air around being an entrepreneur. The sense that you can build your own company, be your own boss and reap the financial rewards while living a comfortable life has been shown in movies, books and TV shows. They have all contributed to the misconception of business ownership, and reality is often quite different.

To start, it should be stated that becoming a business owner is not just no longer having to report to someone else. It means you ARE that someone else and the decisions are yours to make and the results are yours to own. It could be said that being a business owner and entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, but we’ll examine 7 traits that are necessary and see if you possess them already, or are willing to adopt them. 

Image of a passionate entrepreneurIn studies done on successful entrepreneurs, such as the one detailed here, as much as 65% of business owners identify as being driven by “heart.” This suggests that a passion for a product or service, or to solve a particular problem is often driving the creation of a new business. It also suggests that the assumed desire to get rich isn’t as high on the list as you might think. Starting a business takes time, energy, commitment and yes, passion. It’s often that passion that will see the entrepreneur through the tough times and keep them focused on why they started the business in the first place. A good place to begin assessing if you are ready to be an entrepreneur is to ask honestly: “Do I have the passion to stick with it?”

Speaking of “stick with it,” the companion to passion is resilience. Being willing to pick yourself up after a failure and keep going is a testament to your resilience. As famed NFL coach Vince Lombardi said: “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that matters, it’s how many times you get up.” His words ring true in the business world too. That’s because failures and setbacks are going to happen. Having the ability to bounce back after something fails to go your way is crucial to building your business. Think about how you handle setbacks now and how you’ve handled them in the past. Do you lose faith or do you learn and keep moving forward?

Image of an entrepreneur demonstrating flexibilityRarely does your startup venture go exactly as you planned. No matter how much you’ve worked out the details and thought about contingencies, something is going to change. Being flexible in a strategic sense is important in times of change. As Scott Abel, Founder & CEO of Spiceworks says in this article, “While you need to be committed to the vision you had when you started the company, you also need to be nimble enough to change when opportunity presents itself.” If you can maintain your vision while steering a different course, you might be ready to start your own business.

Confidence is key, arrogance is destructive. Understanding the difference is important as you consider embarking on a new business venture. Confident leaders surround themselves with great people and they don’t expect to be right about everything. They are not afraid to seek advice and learn from others. As well, truly confident people don’t care if they are the MVP, only that they are on the winning team. Arrogant people have to be right, whether they are or not, and that approach will make it difficult to create and grow a successful business. How are you seen by your colleagues and business associates? Are they drawn to your confidence? If so, that’s a big step toward succeeding in your own business.

Image of an entrepreneur calculating their financesFinances must be considered before leaving the security of a steady job. Whether you are single without dependents or married with 5 kids, you need money to provide the basics of life. However, this isn’t to suggest that only the rich can start businesses. It is simply to point out that a good guideline for allowing your new business to get off the ground is to have your financial needs covered for 18-24 months when leaving your job for good. You can work towards this by starting the business as a side-job, keeping that 8-5 going until you are ready to make the leap. If your current job allows for it, another approach is to reduce to part time, while spending the rest of the hours on your new business. Take a look at what your real needs are and how long you can go without a paycheck and subsidized benefits before jumping to your own business.

Regardless of what your business has to offer, you will always need to be selling and promoting it. In the beginning, you will be selling people on why they should work with your brand new business on top of whatever your product or service actually is. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and one of the original members of MSNBC’s “Shark Tank,” lists being able to sell as the number one trait you need to be great in business. Mr. Cuban didn’t start out owning an NBA franchise, he started as an entrepreneur who built a great company, then sold it and bought the Mavs. Even at the top, he was still selling. Are you willing to always be selling and promoting your business?

Image of a curious entrepreneur examining a business landscapeIt has been said for a long time that, “you never stop learning.” Whether or not that’s true, it is a trait that entrepreneurs often share, in that they are intellectually curious. They are always wondering why something is the way it is, what can be improved or who might need a certain product or service. The truly curious stay up to date with customer trends, evolving technology and what is happening in the market. As outlined here, even the most successful people remain committed to learning and improving. If you are never satisfied with what you know, that’s a good indicator you are intellectually curious.

Successful entrepreneurs also know they can’t do everything by themselves. Hiring the right staff and adding elements to their team that bring real value is what the best do regularly. When it comes to the tedious disruption of answering phones and handling customer service situations, many entrepreneurs have discovered that they can partner with a provider of call center solutions to allow their time to go towards the growth of the business and the future. Most call center services work for multiple companies, which means you don’t have to pay full time wages, but you get full time coverage.

Now that you’ve read these 7(+) traits of entrepreneurs, you can think about if you embody some or all of them. Are you ready to make the leap or are you going to keep your day job?

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About David Kent

A writer at heart and entrepreneur by trade, David started his first company at the young age of 22; providing marketing services for a variety of events and businesses before being recognized and picked up by a National sport clothing manufacturer. After putting a few successful years of marketing and brand management under his belt, he ventured out seeking new challenges building and running eCommerce businesses. Having spent nearly his entire adult life at the company helm, David now enjoys writing articles to help other business owners by sharing some of the hard lessons he has learned along the way. When he doesn’t have his nose to the grindstone, you can probably find him cooking up something strange and healthy in the kitchen or training for the next obstacle course race.